Friday, December 30, 2016

Last day of 2016


Can't believe it's the last day of 2016. Happy New Year's Eve to everyone. (Is that a thing, or only "Happy New Year" tomorrow?)

I'm not going to talk too much about resolutions, hopes and dreams etc today because I've been sleeping really badly in the heat so I'm tired and headachy, and also have PMS so basically whatever I tried to say would probably come out as "life sucks and I'm a failure". Maybe I'll talk about that stuff tomorrow!

We've had a bit of a heatwave here. Day before yesterday I refused to leave the house (and air conditioning) at all, yesterday Tim convinced me that the movies would be nice and cool so we went out in the afternoon. I'd already done the grocery shopping in the morning, it was pretty hot. When we got to the movies we found that everything was sold out - we often buy tickets online ahead of time but for some reason yesterday we didn't. So that was a fail. We decided to buy some books Jasmine and I wanted while we were there (no bookshop at the local shops near us, this was a much bigger complex). They kept making announcements over the loudspeaker that the power was out in some parts of the complex, some shops were closed I think because their registers weren't working. We had to go to both bookshops to find the three books we wanted but were successful eventually.

But then I decided to use my gift voucher at a kitchenware shop to buy a spiraliser (turns vegetables into spaghetti). They put through the purchase with the voucher then I said "isn't there 20% off everything?" which they hadn't done. This put everyone into a panic! The check out girl didn't know how to reverse it when using a gift voucher, the other girl didn't, the person they called gave instructions over the phone which didn't help, finally an older woman came back from her break and issued me with a new gift card that supposedly has the rest of the money on it, I have no way of knowing and from the fuss and panic I am not that sanguine. I was there a really long time during all this, dripping sweat (maybe air con was one of the things not working with the power problem), kids bored, husband carrying the slumped ten-year-old like he was three, queue built up behind me. It really felt like we should have stayed home! But I got my spiraliser in the end and love it, made zucchini (courgette) and carrot noodles last night.

Today we arranged to go and see my grandfather, Poppa. We didn't see him at Christmas this year due to that side of the family being scattered to the four winds. Poppa is 98, still lives in his own home alone and looks after himself with only minimal help from son and daughter-in-law who live across the road. I love my Poppa, but admit I was dreading the visit just a little because he is pretty deaf now. Also very hot today. But it turned out fine. Two sets of aunts and uncles were also there so there was plenty of chat around the table. It's an hour drive each way so we don't "pop over" often but should definitely go more than we have been.

Tonight we aren't involved in a big NYE party, we've invited some family over but with all the new babies in the family I don't know if anyone will stay until midnight. I never stay up that late anyway! Tim wants to let the kids stay up this year, Jasmine would be fine but I think Aiden will get very tired. We'll see.

Happy NYE everyone, I hope you have a good night and that the new year starts well for you tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016



Yesterday we took advantage of the fact we had no visitors, and relaxed most of the day. Then in the late afternoon, after the worst heat of the day was over, we went to the beach. The kids were very keen to try out their Christmas boogie boards (is that what they are called in other countries? like a cut-off surf board). They had fun, but it wasn't really a good day for it. There was a very strong wind, so every time they cruised in on their boards on the little waves they were pushed a long way down the beach and had to trudge back to where the safe area was marked by the flags (patrolled by life guards). And being on the beach itself was quite unpleasant, with the sand flaying skin off your bones. I still have sand in my ears despite soaking my head in the bath last night. But at least no-one got sunburned!

My husband is slightly right of middle in the blue Tshirt, with Jasmine in black behind him and Aiden over to the right with the orange/red board. It's the only photo I took between gusts of sand. I didn't deliberately put them in the side of the photo, but I could barely see what was in the frame and had to point and guess.

I did go in the water up to my waist for a little while but found it a bit cold and also full of displaced sand. I am really looking forward to our pool!

After rinsing off some of the sand in the public showers, we went out to dinner at a steak restaurant. Steak and salad was a pretty good choice for my diet but I also ate the curly fries.... and then we ordered dessert. Whoops. I had a deep-fried mars bar. Urg. I felt sick half way through but ate it anyway. My stomach looked like I had a balloon shoved up my shirt and I could barely stay awake the rest of the evening, but worse was my blood glucose level which was 12.2 mmol/L when I tested. That is into diabetic levels and possibly the highest I have ever tested. Really bad choice.

After nodding and dozing in front of the TV for a while, I went to bed and slept for nine and a half hours! For the last month or so I've usually only got around six. That was a good sleep, I guess, although I remember dreaming about being in hospital dizzy and with a fever. I was worried about my weigh-in this morning but I have already dropped back down to my lowest recent weight so that was good. I should end 2016 on a low for the year which is awesome.

 Today will be the hottest of the summer so far and I have no plans to leave the air conditioned house.

[edit: my brother-in-law Nick came over this afternoon and mentioned that he and my little niece Emma were at the same beach at the same time as us yesterday! They only dipped their toes in and played in the sand so they didn't need to be between the safety flags and were a bit further along.]

Tuesday, December 27, 2016



I'm back on my diet/WOE whatever you want to call it today. Back to healthy food! I had a light lunch to save some calories for the afternoon as we had some last minute guests, friends from our old city who were here visiting family and asked if they could drop in here for a couple of hours. Of course we said yes! I put out lots of leftover treats but only ate some cheese and fruit. The other stuff was very tempting but I made it!

I did make an error with some fruit tea. I was given three varieties as a Christmas gift, two apparently have zero calories. But the one I made a big jug of, which everyone thought was delicious, turned out to have 56 calories and 14g of sugar per cup! No wonder it tasted so nice. I made it weaker than the box suggested, and I only drank half my cup before getting suspicious and investigating, so I didn't injest all that sugar, but it was still a fair bit. Oh well, maybe it will ease the transition from Christmas.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Merry Christmas


It's Boxing Day morning for me now. Yesterday was busy and exhausting and fun. I got the turkey in the oven early then we opened all our presents and relaxed while we could. Then I spent a couple of hours in a whirlwind of cooking then everyone came over for lunch. I think we had 16 in the end, not counting the babies. The only stressful moment was due to one couple (who didn't bring any food contributions - even though they said they would) who are currently only eating seafood. I had two people who offered to bring seafood, one forgot to bring the dish - and the traffic was terrible, they couldn't go back for it - and the other was late - again due to the unusual traffic - so for a while I thought this couple weren't going to get much to eat. I was wondering whether to heat up some fish fingers, but then aunty Vanessa showed up late with a beautiful salmon.

I've just got used to Tim's family, lovely though they are, being rather unreliable in things like this. It's been the same in previous years. People say they will bring a particular dish, or Christmas Crackers or whatever, then don't. This year two people didn't bring desserts when they said they would, one said they left it behind, the other just didn't mention it at all. This is why I over-cater! I'd made a chocolate cheesecake and a fruit salad and bought ice cream, and one person brought the trifle they'd promised. We were fine.

After lunch we opened more presents, ate snacks, and played Trivial Pursuit. We had several editions out and people could chose which box to take their questions from. Jasmine and I won playing purely from her new Christmas present "Harry Potter" trivial pursuit edition. Tim and Aiden were doing well mostly answering from the "World of Warcraft" (computer game) box, everyone else mostly used the normal questions with the occasional Harry Potter.

The babies slept almost the entire time. The two three-year-old girls were getting a bit tired by mid-afternoon. Most people left by late afternoon, I was pretty exhausted by then, but my brother stayed and a couple who had lunch with her family came for dinner. I cooked some fettuccini boscaiola to go with lunch leftovers. Finally everyone was gone around 10pm and we collapsed into bed.

To get up and do it all again today....


It's Tim's father's birthday on Boxing Day so we always all get together again for a BBQ. In the afternoon we usually all go to whatever big fantasy/sci-fi movie has just been released (so this year would have been Rogue One) but with three little babies didn't organise that this year. We set the house to rights, vacuuming and running the dishwasher for the umpteenth time and collecting all the empty glasses from around the house etc. Then it was time for me to start cooking again. Tim mans the BBQ and I do the side dishes and the desserts. We had another lovely family lunch (I think 16 again today, slightly different mix from yesterday) then I sat in the lounge with a couple of other women and a baby or two while others played Mah Jong and then Dungeons and Dragons, I was just too tired. Quiet chat was about as much as I could manage.

The only drama moment today was when one mother left her sleeping baby and happy three-year-old here briefly to drive her parents home a suburb away. Of course almost the moment she left, the baby woke starving. The daddy was trying to distract her when the three-year-old jumped down four stairs heavily and hurt her foot and started screaming louder than the baby. I took the baby and the daddy gave the little girl attention. I spent 15 minutes doing a tour of the house with a two-week-old baby who was very unimpressed at the lack of milk in every room, and not afraid to let me know it!

In the late afternoon it began to look like some people were expecting to stay for dinner. I was very tired and a constant stream of mothers using my quiet bedroom to breastfeed meant no nap for me, but at least we had enough leftovers that I didn't have to worry about cooking. I just threw together a salad to go with the leftover BBQ meat. I love having everyone here but four meals over two days is a lot to cater for a big group of people, and I've barely had a chance to look at my Christmas presents yet. I've had a good couple of days, but I'm rather glad everyone has gone and I can soak my tired legs in the bath and go to bed.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Christmas Eve


Merry Christmas Eve everyone! I hope you're all having a lovely festive period. If you don't celebrate Christmas, you could try Festivus which was invented by the Seinfeld writers. Wiki says it is non-commercial holiday which includes an unadorned aluminium Festivus Pole instead of a Christmas Tree, but I remember it chiefly for the "Airing of Grievances" where you tell everyone at the dinner table how they have disappointed you during the year. It's supposed to be celebrated (if that is the right word) on December 23 so we missed it, maybe next year!

We've spent the last few days feeling a bit unwell, trying to get all the cleaning and shopping etc done. I'm feeling a lot better today so I'm confident for Christmas tomorrow. Lots of cooking and cleaning today. I think I'll watch some Carols on TV tonight and go to bed early. Oh, but I'm looking forward to putting all the presents under the tree after the kids go to bed so I'll have to stay up at least that long!

Have a great day tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Trivial Pursuit


Tim is home on holidays from today until the new year. Unfortunately he wasn't well today. Tim's brother Nick was sick when we saw him on the weekend so I blame him - that weird little surgical mask he wore did nothing! Jasmine and I had sore throats yesterday, I'm tired and grainy-eyed today, but Tim has had work stress and travel and late nights to deal with as well so it's hit him harder, he spent a bit of today in bed. As long as we're all well again for Christmas!

I did a partial shop today, all the non-perishable items like drinks. I'll do the big shop for meat, fruit, cream etc on Friday morning - and pick up the turkey! Then start cooking, I've got gingerbread cookies, a birthday cake, and two desserts to make ahead of time.

We played Trivial Pursuit this afternoon and Aiden won. We have an edition that has a box of questions for kids and one for adults and it is pretty well balanced for us, we all had 4 or 5 wedges at the end. We have a huge array of board games but we are more likely to play computer games these days, we play World of Warcraft as a family team.

Oh I can hear Jasmine coughing in her room. Should have bought more Strepsils.



I received another rejection email about my book, from the second literary agent. It was a thoughtful email suggesting the book needed a bit more work and a look from a professional editor. I had considered that already but since I'm an editor myself and I had some experienced readers look at it, I skipped that step. Fresh eyes are valuable and I am reconsidering that decision. My brain will be lying fallow the next couple of weeks then I'll have to decide whether to have the book professionally edited, keep trying to find an agent, or send it directly to publishers.

Another thing I am reconsidering is the full-time-ness of my writing. I haven't done any paid work for a couple of years now. Partly to work on my book, partly because I knew we'd be moving to another state soon (which we did at the end of last year), a large part due to my RSI. I have chronic pain in my shoulders, arms and hands which was caused by and still exacerbated by typing. I can only use the computer for two or three hours a day, spread out with breaks, before the pain gets bad. (Hand writing is worse, and I've tried voice-activated software but found it clumsy and slow.) A couple of years ago I tried going back to work part-time five hours a day and it was too much, I was in a lot of pain after a month and left after six weeks. I can write at my own pace at home. Freelance editing was also flexible, but if I spend my three hours a day editing then I can't write at all. And I like to spend a bit of that time on this blog and playing computer game World of Warcraft too. I'd love to spend more time on all these things, but can't. I often write these blog posts in instalments over the day.

So if did look for part time work, and still want to be able to write novels, I can't do anything involving a computer. Problematic, because otherwise I am ideally suited to deskwork! I love deskwork. After ten years at Centrelink (government department dealing with Pensions and Unemployment Benefits) I want to avoid dealing with angry customers, I'm too shy to teach, not sure what I would do. I considered landscape gardening for a while, and did some study there. I also dabbled in training as a nutritionist. Most jobs that involve brains also require frequent use of a computer, these days (not all, but most). And probably several years of training, which would also involve lots of typing and writing during study. I have always liked the idea of being a librarian. But yeah, study and deskwork again. Hmm. Requires more thought. When my brain gets back from vacation.

A workman wandered in this morning and took away some of the temporary wooden scaffolding around the pool that they used to shape the concrete. Then he wandered away again.

I took Jasmine to the doctor this morning, she's been complaining of breathlessness for a while now. The doctor couldn't find anything but gave her a Ventolin to try for a while to see if it helps. She had eczema as a baby which is linked to asthma, and both Tim and my mother had asthma so she is at risk. We'll see if the Ventolin puffer helps.

Sunday, December 18, 2016



Weekly weigh-in 79.7kg. Little bit up. I've been more or less the same weight for five or six weeks now, eating junky Christmas food is being balanced out by trying to eat healthy the rest of the time. Will continue like this for another week before I get serious again after Christmas.

Yesterday we went to see my new niece Ashleigh again, one week old now and at home. She slept almost the whole three hours we were there, I got a cuddle after her feed and she went back to sleep again. Her cousin baby Lucy was there too (more cuddles!), she is nine weeks old now and weighs almost exactly the same as Ashleigh does at one week! They are so different. Lucy was born small, a pale porcelain doll with a little fair hair. Ashleigh is big and olive-skinned with a shock of black hair. I say olive-skinned but olives are green or black (or purpley!) and she's none of those! As half-Chinese I suppose traditionally you could say "yellow" but I don't know why, I've never seen an Asian person who looks the slightest bit yellow to me. Light brown? I suppose I'm not "white" either, more a pale pinky brown with lots of freckles! Anyway, both babies are doing well.

Then we had family over to our place in the afternoon and for dinner. Quite a festive day.

The kids are home for school holidays now, we had to be home for a delivery this afternoon and just did the grocery shopping in the morning so not very exciting. I think Aiden is a bit tired after the school year and needs a bit of time to just relax at home. We probably won't do a lot this week other than get ready for Christmas, but Tim will be home too from Wednesday which will be nice.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Last day of school


Well I've almost finished my Christmas shopping. I drove out in the rain today to the big shopping centre, then round and round for about half an hour to get a parking spot. It was worth it, I got the last things for Tim and Aiden and also a couple of pretty shirts/blouses/tops (what is the right word for a fancy T-shirt?) for myself. I don't buy clothes very often but it's my tradition to have new tops to wear Christmas and Boxing Day - with shorts, it is summer here remember. I now just need to get a couple of little gifts for peripheral people.

I had to go outside the centre to a shop a block away, I got rather wet but on the way back while waiting for the traffic lights a nice young man held his umbrella over me.

I came home hoping to be in time for today's parcel delivery, for the past three days they've arrived after 2pm (of course they couldn't all come on the same day, had to be one per day!) but today was the day they came earlier so I missed them. I still have plenty of time before Christmas to pick it up, luckily it was one that went to the post office after a failed delivery.

It was the kids' last day of school, they are now on holidays for six weeks over summer. Next year Jasmine goes into Yr 8 and Aiden into Yr 5. They are growing up very fast. Jasmine has changed a lot this year, she is doing excellently at school and she suddenly likes "cool" clothes instead of little girl pink and frilly. I suppose it was bound to happen, she is nearly 13. Aiden is still my baby, lots of cuddles.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Different kind of hot


I picked up Indian food for dinner tonight after the kids last Acrogym class of the year, butter chicken for the kids and tried a different curry (can't remember name, started with a Z) which I specified to be mild. I usually ask for medium for myself but I thought the kids might like to try some. Oh boy. Not mild. Not even medium, to my taste buds. Hot hot hot. Nice flavour, but I couldn't eat it without large portions of rice, naan bread, and some milk. I'm going to be sorry tomorrow.

Lovely cool rainy day today, about 15 degrees cooler than the past couple. Stayed home all day to receive another parcel. Walked around shops and library in the evening while kids were in Acrogym, very nice outside. I felt so much healthier than I did in the heat.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Still hot


Another scorcher today. I tend to feel quite ill in the heat, which I don't really understand as I'm in a relatively cool house. I mean I'm not actually out in the heat. I have air con for when it gets too hot in here. I wear light cotton clothing. I should barely notice that there is a heatwave outside. Yet I feel very tired and queasy and wilted.

Cool change scheduled for tonight.

I waited at home again to receive another parcel. There will be a couple more coming this week. I really want to get out to finish my Christmas shopping by the end of the week so I hope they both come tomorrow.

Monday, December 12, 2016



It was so hot today. I think they said on the news it was the hottest December day for 10 years. I stayed at home because I was expecting a parcel, but it wasn't a day to be out anyway. Air conditioning all the way! Tomorrow will be the same. Even with the air con on, I feel a bit sick with the heat. Wish we had our pool!

Sunday, December 11, 2016

New niece


Exciting news early this morning, my new niece Ashleigh was born! We went and visited in the hospital in the afternoon, after mum Ping had got some sleep. Ashleigh is less than 12 hours old here.

Yesterday we spent all day out at a big shopping centre, Christmas shopping in the morning and then we saw "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them" after lunch. We haven't finished our Christmas shopping yet, in fact we have no idea what to get for a couple of people including my sister-in-law Ping! I don't want to just get baby stuff, I want to pamper her, and it's her second baby so she already has a lot of stuff. I asked her but she had no ideas. Also her parents are here looking after her so she doesn't really need me for anything. Hmm, still thinking.

Only two weeks to Christmas!

Thursday, December 8, 2016



This morning I sent my synopsis and the first three chapters of my book to another literary agent. I only really have a choice of four Australian agents that I like the look of and that take my kind of book, and two aren't accepting submissions at the moment. I'll check those two early next year, but otherwise if this one doesn't take me I'll be querying publishers directly which is also fine, I just wanted to try the agents first.

It took me a few days to get this one organised because they wanted a hardcopy mailed to them instead of an email (I am actually a tiny bit concerned about how old-fashioned this is, what does it say about the company?), and my printer ran out of ink and then once I bought more and refilled that the printer decided it was hungry and spent an afternoon chewing up paper. But that is done now.

Jasmine's teachers were at a union meeting this morning so I drove her to school rather late, and somehow I'd forgotten to have breakfast and I had to stop at the post office anyway so I went to a café. French toast with bacon sounded nice (definitely not diet friendly) but it was horrible. The syrup was spiced with something I didn't like at all. I ate most of the bacon and about two bites of French toast. Such a shame. Probably a good thing for my waistline and my blood sugar levels that I didn't eat all that sugary sweetness.

Really stinking hot day. I didn't notice it much, at home in the air con, until taking the kids to their gymnastics class in the late afternoon. That building is so hot in summer and freezing in winter and always smells of kid sweat and feet! But I pretended I was in a sauna and tried to enjoy it.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016



Yesterday my weight finally went down to 78.8 kg! An official 5 kg loss, after eight weeks and one day. I'd bought a celebratory charm a couple of weeks ago when I got close, I put it on the bracelet yesterday.
It is the last all-purple crystally one. Nearly all my charms were "earned" with health and fitness goals accomplished, plus a couple of gifts. It's taken years to get this many charms!

It is now that time of the month and my weight is up again a little bit today... but the achievement still counts.

There's been a tradesman here the past two days, I thought he was putting in the decorative rocks around the pool but no he was just putting up the scaffolding for it, which looks rather imposing. Actual rock won't be until next week or the one after. 

Sunday, December 4, 2016



I'm feeling a bit crushed right now, my first choice literary agent has decided not to represent me after reading my book. It happens I know. You hear stories about how JK Rowling was rejected seven times or something. Tomorrow I'll send it off to my second choice!

I've now finished the official eight weeks of my Blood Sugar Diet. Despite many wobbles in the past few weeks my weight is finally back down below where I was three weeks ago.

Starting weight 10/10/16: 83.8 kg
Finishing weight 05/12/16: 79.0 kg
Total loss: 4.8 kg

I still can't quite crack that 5 kg loss! I plan to continue on the diet principles for another two weeks taking me to the end of school term and nearly to Christmas, then a relaxed couple of weeks before getting strict again. The BSD is specifically an eight week kick start to improve blood sugars (weight loss is an additional benefit) before moving to a more general Mediterranean diet with more calories and healthy carbs, but I think I need to be strict for a while longer especially since I haven't been sticking to it well. I read of other people's amazing losses over their eight weeks and feel jealous, but actually I am happy with 4.8 kg. It's a lot better than my usual attempts.

Yesterday we had family over in the afternoon and for dinner. I got to cuddle baby Lucy a lot. Veronica is a first-time mum and finding out how hard it can be, especially since Lucy has reflux which causes pain after feeding. I found myself in the slightly weird position of giving breast-feeding advice. I don't feel like I'm an expert, but on the other hand my children did turn out nearly perfect so I must have done something right! With Tim's help, of course.

It's hard not to feel a bit rejected and sad...

Friday, December 2, 2016

O tannenbaum


On Friday Tim stayed home again and I was sick too. Had a nap in the morning, another one in the afternoon, then was in bed by 8:30 and slept nearly 11 hours! Feeling much better today.

We put up the Christmas tree today, or at least Tim and the kids did while I was out doing the grocery shopping I would normally have done yesterday. I could have helped decorate when I got home but was too tired. Jasmine got the decoration idea from the internet, and it looks lovely.

In the morning we went to a three-year-old's birthday party, came home for lunch, I did the grocery shopping, then we walked across to the grassy area across the road to a Christmas Picnic in the Park that has apparently been organised by people in our street for more than 30 years. It was nice, we got to meet some neighbours and everyone was very friendly. A bit boring for the kids as most people were of the retired generation, although some younger people with kids came a bit later. There are actually a lot of children in our street but we didn't see many of them today. Aiden brought his remote control plane over and Jasmine had her phone so they were ok. We stayed about an hour and a half I guess. I was feeling pretty tired by then, it was a big day considering Tim and I were sick yesterday.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Not so chipper


Aiden was home sick yesterday. Tim home today and I'm not feeling so chipper myself.

I watered the pool for the last time today. I thought that was the only pool thing for a few weeks, but no. The guys doing the decorative fake rock formations and water feature at one end of the pool came yesterday to look at the site, and are coming back next Tuesday to do the work! So things keep ticking on.

Haven't heard back from that literary agent yet. I didn't expect to, they say up to six weeks, but I still keep hoping every day!

I learned yesterday that my side of the family isn't doing Christmas dinner this year! We usually have lunch with Tim's family then go to my Poppa's for dinner. Poppa is my mother's father, 98 years old and still in his own home with no assistance. Of course his daughters and daughters in law help with the big dinners.But my mum and aunt died last year, a lot of people will be overseas or interstate, and one cousin is having her second baby by caesarean a few days before Christmas so my other aunt will be looking after her and the toddler. Basically it would be me and one cousin instead of the usual crowd. Poppa will have a quiet Christmas dinner with his son and I've been told to visit a few days later. It's a bit sad really, I'm not close to that side of the family but it's nice to see them at Christmas and the occasional wedding.

On the up side, I'm hosting lunch for twenty and won't have to worry about getting them out of the house at a certain time so we can leave. Usually we have to rush the present-unwrapping. This year people could hang around for a dinner of leftovers if they wanted. Although with three new babies needing naps I don't know if anyone will stay! It will probably be the one year when everyone rushes home.